L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Leave village or perish, migrant families told
Thikri pehra outside migrants’ hutments planned
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Karaurr (Ludhiana), January 23
Two days after the Karaurr village fire that had consumed eight members of a family on Saturday, around 100 migrant families are having sleepless nights as some persons are threatening them with the similar treatment if they did not leave the village immediately. To provide security to migrants, the village sarpanch has decided to put up thikri pehras outside the migrants hutment from today.

With scare of death visible in their eyes, these families living in thatched huts in Bhagpur and Karaurr village today alleged that they had to spend last two nights under the sky in chilly weather as some unidentified car-borne persons had been threatening them to return to their native places otherwise they would be done to death like Mohammad Manzoor's family.

Their fears are compounded with the fact that around 10 days ago another thatched hut in Karaurr village had caught fire under similar conditions injuring a cow badly. There was no person inside the hut. Otherwise, he too could have suffered due to fire. The cow, with burn injuries and remains of the burnt hut vindicate their claim.

"Please save us from death that looks certain in our case," said Mohammad Jabbar, an elderly man as womenfolk accompanied him with folded hands.

"Last night around four persons travelling in white Maruti Car hurled abuses at us and told us to go back to our village. We cannot identify them but they told us that we would also face the same fate as of Mazoor's family if we did not listen to them," said Mohammad Muslim, a migrant who had refused to accept the theory that an accidental fire had killed Manzoor family. He had invited the ire of some persons in the village by protesting against the police proceedings under Section 174 CrPC.

"Then we came out on the road with sticks and iron rods and did not sleep throughout the night. Fearing that we would be done to death, we preferred braving cold and making our children and women sleep on the roadside." said Mohammad Jabbar, another member, who lives in a hut in Karaurr village.

Migrants said there were similar threats on Saturday night also in Karaurr village when some motorcycle borne youths had asked them to leave the village. "Our boys chased those youths with iron rods and sticks and they did not return. Nobody came last night also but some people threatened other members of our community in Bhagpur village."

After the incident in Bhagpur village yesterday night, a migrant youth, Asgar Afridi even called up the SSP's residence in Ludhiana where he was directed to call up the police control room. ‘‘Nobody listened to me there. Then we thought of making our own security arrangements." he said.

Considering the panic that is gripping the villagers, Mr Navsharan Singh, Sarpanch of Karaurr village, said that he had asked some youths to stand guard outside the huts for some days till their fear is over. He added that only last night he came to know about the development that the migrants had abandoned their jhuggis at nights and took shelter in an open ground.

"I had sent my servant to call one of them from the huts. Nobody was there. I was shocked to learn that. But I have asked them to stay inside the huts today. Though it seems to be a case of fear psychosis we will still find out what the matter is." said Mr Navsharan Singh. 



Jitesh does the city proud
Arya College student flies jet fighter
Asha Ahuja

Jitesh Vaid with parents
Jitesh Vaid with parents

Ludhiana, January 23
“I am the only civilian in the country to fly a jet fighter plane of the Indian Air Force whereas many pilots of the Air Force do not get a chance to fly a jet fighter,” said an elated Jitesh Vaid, winner of the Mission Udaan.

He is a student of Arya College here and has stood first in the Mission Udaan. The Mission Udaan was a contest for the civilians sponsored by Hero Honda and filmed by National Geographic Channel. All its episodes were telecast live by the channel. He has returned home today after flying the jet fighter plane from Bangalore.

The prize offered to contestants of the Mission Udaan (MU ) was to fly fighter plane. Out of the five finalists of MU, Jitesh emerged the winner as he was first in flying, second in solo jumping and also first in Air Control Manoeuvring Instrumentation (ACMI) and as far as fitness was concerned Jitesh had topped the list of 30 shortlisted candidates for MU from India. He had to appear for fitness test at the Institute of Indian Medicine, Bangalore, where air force pilots and astronauts are tested.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Jitesh said, “I feel I have achieved something tremendous. I cannot believe that I have piloted a fighter plane. I was also allowed to pilot 42 Sukhoi 30 MKI and the things cannot get better than this. I had dived from 4000 ft after being in the helicopter for just two days. I had always dreamed that I would find adventures but little did I know that I would be lucky enough to be selected from among 75,000 applicants and then pass a series of interviews and finally be shortlisted.”

Jitesh said, “Earlier, I wanted to study MBA but now I want to be a commercial pilot. The thrill of being in the air is incomparable. I give credit of my fitness to my mother.”

The parents, Mr Vinod and his wife, were thrilled by their son’s achievements and were proud of him.



PFA, PETA activists hold protest outside KFC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
Activists of the PFA and PETA today staged a protest outside Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) outlet in the city to "sensitise people about the cruelty being done to birds in hatcheries supplying birds to the outlet."

Led by Dr Sandeep K. Jain of the PFA and Ms Sneha Singh and Roshni D'Silva of PETA, activists distributed pamphlets carrying pictures of various stages a chicken goes through before being slaughtered.

Dr Jain said that they were all peace loving organisations and did not want to create any law and order problem. But they had to start the campaign against the outlet after the reports of cruelty.

"We are not raising any slogans or staging a dharna. It is a peaceful way of making our point by conveying our message through placards,’’ he said while showing a pamphlet that they handed over to people.

Mr Arvind Mediratta, a spokesperson of the KFC, said that their outlet does not own, raise, transport or process poultry. Their unit was committed to the well being and humane treatment of chickens. They had tied up with the suppliers that followed an internationally benchmarked mechanised procedure for meat processing.

He added that in India, KFC sources processed chicken for all its restaurants from Venkateshwara Hatcheries Limited (Venky’s), which is the largest and the most reputed organised company in the Indian poultry industry. Venky’s supplies chicken to several well-known hotels and restaurant chains in the country and is also the largest exporter of poultry products from India. Venky’s has won numerous awards and acclaim for their high standards and best practices.

Mr Mediratta added: "We value our customers and have highest regards for their health and safety. We serve quality food at our restaurants prepared with the freshest ingredients and benchmarked procedures. The high standards of hygiene and quality demanded by the KFC stipulate that meat be processed untouched by human hand."

He further said that they ensured that all the suppliers followed specific, quantifiable guidelines developed in consultation with Animal Welfare Advisory Council, which consists of leading scientists and academics in the field of animal welfare and failure to comply with their guidelines could result in the termination of the suppliers contract.



Lawyer dies of heart attack in court complex
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana January 23
Lawyer Amarjit Singh Bagga(52) died of heart attack in the Judicial Complex today raising once again the urgent need of adequate medical facilities in the complex. He is the second advocate who suffered heart attack in the complex and died for want of emergency medical facilities.

The deceased lawyer is survived by wife, two sons and one daughter. He had gone to the second floor of the complex to attend a case. He suffered heart attack when he was standing in the court of Mr Jaspal Verma, Judicial Magistrate.

Immediately, his colleagues arranged a stretcher from a room. Then Chairman of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana Harish Rai Dhanda and other lawyers took him to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital. Doctors declared him brought dead. It sent shock waves among the family members of lawyer and entire legal fraternity. He was cremated this evening.

Earlier a lawyer, Pal Singh Ghumman, had expried in the court complex for want of any medical care. He had also suffered heart attack but before reaching to the hospital he had died. On November 10, 2005, litigant Baldev Singh had also died in the complex after suffering heart attack. At that time, the District Bar Association had given a representation to the District and Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, who had forwarded it to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. That representation did not bear any results.

The lawyers have been demanding for setting up at least a dispensary for a long period but got nothing except assurances from the administration. There are more than 1400 lawyers practising in the District Courts Complex. More than 20000 people visit the complex daily.

President of the District Bar Association Naval Kishore Chibber, and secretary Rajneesh Gupta, Mr Harish Narang have urged for setting up a dispensary at Courts Complex on the pattern of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.



SAD misguiding people: Dulo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
With a view to improve the condition of poor people, the state government has implemented various welfare schemes amounting to Rs 920 crores for the welfare of weaker sections in the state.

This was stated by Mrs Harbans Kaur Dulo, Parliamentary Secretary, Departments of Rural Development and Panchayats and Food and Supply Punjab, while addressing a function organized to distribute of cheques of grants for the development projects at Issru village about 45 kms from here today.

She said that Capt Amarinder Singh’s government had created a special corpus fund to ensure regular and timely disbursal of pensioners/financial assistance to old, widows, orphans and the handicapped.

She informed that to clear the backlog of the old-age pensions of Rs. 195 crore, first installment of Rs 54 crore has been released. Scheduled Caste households in the state have been given 200 units of free domestic electricity costing to Rs 58 crore and 40000 beneficiaries have been covered under the Ashirwad Scheme, under which a shagun of Rs 6100 was being given on the marriages of two daughters of Scheduled Caste families. .

She said that residential plots have also been allotted to 26,059 Dalit families out of village common land and 80,000 more residential plots would be given to Dalits by 2007. The government has also launched Rajiv Gandhi Pendu Jan Sehat Kalyan Yojana to provide basic civic amenities to the Scheduled Caste families and 45,000 families have been covered under this scheme during the current financial year.

Farmers have also benefited by providing free power for the tubewells costing Rs 439 crore and all the eight crops had been purchased without any delay or harassment. She said that eight hour regular power supply was ensured to the farmers for irrigation of paddy.

She said that the state would soon witness unprecedented development. Funds amounting to Rs 5 crore were being spent in each constituency.



A tragedy that would haunt forever
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 23
Mr Raj Kumar Sharma’s sorrow is hard to conceal. He is struck with pangs of pain when his younger son, Davinder, and now widowed daughter-in-law, Rita, admitted to a private hospital at Ludhiana after a ghastly accident, ask for a dish they especially relish.

Both are oblivious of the fact that their four family members have perished in the accident they survived.

Soma, Mr Raj Kumar Sharma’s wife, brings the dish but does not let it out that the family has lost four persons in the accident in which Devinder and Rita are the only survivors.

Trying to come to terms with the tragedy, the Sharma couple is in a fix as to how to break the sad news to Devinder and Rita.

The fate, in one cruel stroke, has snatched their two sons and two grandchildren. The bhog ceremony is scheduled to take place on January 26, the day when whole nation would be celebrating the Republic Day.

“ I shudder at what Devinder and Rita (wife of Sanjiv, who died in the accident ) would feel when they would see a photo of Rajiv, Sanjiv, Diksha and Abhishek, garlanded on the occasion of their bhog ceremony,” sobs Mr Sharma.

His friends and relatives make an unsuccessful attempt to console him.

Sanjiv Sharma, a Food Supply Department official, had come to his parents' house to celebrate Lohri of his son, who was born two months ago.

He, along with his wife Rita and two children, wanted to return to Sirsa, his place of posting, by bus, but Rajiv Sharma and Devinder Sharma insisted that they would drop them by car on January 15.

The victims had hardly reached the Handiaya Chowk, Barnala, that a truck collided head-on with their Maruti car.

The Barnala police shifted the victims to the Civil Hospital where doctors declared four of them as brought dead.

They were identified as Sanjiv (35), his brother Rajiv and two children — two-month-old son Abhishek and four-year-old daughter Diksha.

Devinder, who was driving the car and his sister-in-law Rita, wife of Sanjiv, were taken to a private hospital in Ludhiana. 



Diesel train for Chandigarh-Morinda line
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
The first train to run on the Chandigarh-Morinda rail line would be a Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU), however, the residents of the region would have to wait for long till the service on the Ludhiana-Morinda line starts as the Railways is yet to start work on the line.

Stating this here today, General Manager, Northern Railway, V.N. Mathur told The Tribune that the DMU would start running very soon on the Chandigarh-Morinda rail line. ‘‘We are just waiting for the confirmation of the dates for the inauguration of the rail line by an eminent personality,’’ said Mr Mathur.

He, however, said people had to wait for some time more for a direct rail link between Chandigarh and Ludhiana. The Railways was still to start work on the Morinda-Ludhiana rail line.

The DMU would run as soon as the electrification of the Chandigarh-Morinda track was completed or a regular train was run there, he added.

Mr Mathur was here to inspect the local railway station. He announced that the Railways would soon start mechanised cleaning at Ludhiana railway station to make it a model station. ‘‘The railway station has been identified as one of the 14 stations in the Northern Region which would be covered under a beautification project,” he said.

He also announced that the Railways was concerned over the increasing accidents at unmanned level crossings. The Railways had identified 91 such sensitive spots in Ferozepore division only. Most of the identified spots were on the Jalandhar and Ludhiana section.

He said on 45 of the identified level crossings personnel would be deployed this year while the remaining would be upgraded next year.

He visited a housing colony of railway personnel. He was disappointed to find that residents of Railway Colony No. 10 were living in unhygienic conditions.

In view of the visit of the General Manager the otherwise dirty railway station was made spic and span.



NRIs chip in for quake victims
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Bilga (Phillaur), January 23
Coming forward to the cause of earthquake victims, NRIs in Canada have poured donations. A Canadian delegation, which is on a month-long tour to Pakistan and India, today handed over a cheque for Rs 11 lakh to the Kalgidhar Society here. The delegation also presented a draft for Rs 5 crore to the Pakistani Prime Minister.

"We made announcements on our radio channel when we learnt about the quake, following which donations started pouring in. Since records showed more deaths in Pakistan, it was decided to collect donations for that country and the Indian and Pakistani people came forward in large numbers," said Mr Ajit Singh Badh, CEO, Shere- Punjab Radio Canada, which collected the money. He said over 90 per cent of the donations came from Indians.

Mr Badh handed over the draft to Mr Khem Singh Gill, vice-president of the Kalgidhar Society.

"The society provided relief materials to the victims and constructed over 2,000 houses in Uri district. We will utilise this money for construction," said Mr Gill.

Mr Gill said the society also set up medical camps and with the help of engineers, masons and carpenters, which were a part of its delegation that went to the affected areas in October last year, it built houses.

Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Badh said the Pakistani government has taken up a project under which it will build educational institutions and provide medical relief with the money given by the delegation that comprised members from Shere-Punjab Radio Canada and the Khalsa Diwan Society.

"They will send us regular reports pertaining to the projects that are taken up with these donations," said Mr Badh.

He said the delegation, which met Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Punjab's Chief Minister Parvez Illahi, discussed several issues, including relaxation in visa norms and building a corridor for gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.

"Donations were coming even till we left. However, it is only after we visited the quake-affected areas that we realised that India was no less affected. Now we will collect money for contribution towards relief measures in India," he said.

Mr Amarjit Singh Ghuman, president, Khalsa Diwan Society, Mr Bhagat Singh Sahota of the Khalsa Diwan Society, Mr Kashmir Singh Janda, host, Shere-Punjab Radio Canada, Mr Gurwinder Singh Dhaliwal, spokesman, Canadian Sikh delegation, were also present.



Pensioners to stage rallies till February 15
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 23
In a meeting held today, Punjab Govt Pensioners Joint Front chalked out an action programme to organise district level protest rallies throughout the state till February 15. They decided to meet again on February 19 to finalise programme for holding state level demonstration in Chandigarh during the Punjab Assembly budget session to press the Punjab government to accept their demands.

The demands include pension parity between pre and post January, 1 1996 retirees, enhancement of fixed monthly medical allounces to Rs 500 at the rate of 5 per cent of the basic pension, leave travel concession to both husband and wife pensioners as well as to family pensioners, grant of dearness relief to family pensioners who have got employment on compassionate grounds, grant of 0.5 per cent increase in pension on half-yearly service beyond qualifying service of 33 years, another slab of 5 per cent as old age pension to those pensioners who have attained 80 years or above age.

The charter of demands would be sent to the government through the Deputy Commissioners and also to the Chief Minister, Punjab.



“Remember freedom fighters, martyrs”
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 23
The 108th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was observed by the Subhash Chandra Bose Society for Blind. Mr Tarsem Sharma, president of the society, presided over the function. While paying tributes to Netaji, various leaders urged leaders of various political and social organisations to remember the contributions of freedom fighters and the martyrs.

The leaders said the observance of the anniversary would be meaningful only when the sacrifice of the great jawan was remembered by the leaders of various parties.

“We should remember that we would never have become free, had the freedom fighters preferred their personal interests to the freedom,” claimed speakers. Mr Jatinder Bhola, president, Municipal Council, Mr Ravinder Puri, president, Journalist Association, Mr Mangat Jain, president, Vidya Parcharak Sabha and Mr Tarsem Garg, president, CB Welfare Association, spoke on the occasion.

Students of Sanatan Vidya Mandir Senior School presented a cultural programme that included patriotic songs and poems.



Tributes paid to Staines
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 23
Members of the Christian community and other city residents paid homage to Christian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons, Philip and Timothy, at a prayer meeting organised by the United Masihi Dal at Krishna Hamilton Resorts, near Jalandhar bypass, here today. The missionary and his two young sons were burnt alive in Orissa by radical elements. Those present at the meeting observed a two-minute silence.

Paying tributes to Dr Staines, who had laid down his life for his commitment to truth and community service, Mr Bachan Masih, president of the Dal, Rev Pastor Iqbal S. Gill, president of the Perfect Salvation Ministries Church, urged the people to follow Jesus Christ.



Central Excise help centre meeting today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 23
A meeting of the help centre of Customs and Central Excise will be held on January 24 at Auto Parts Technology Centre in Focal Point Phase V here. Representatives of trade and industry can attend the meeting and come forward with their problems and suggestions relating to service tax, central excise and custom.



Policemen get first-aid training

Ludhiana, January 23
The Ambulance and Mobike Accident Rescue Services (AMARS) unit of Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) today conducted a one-day workshop on the basic first-aid training for the trainees at Punjab Police Academy (PPA) at Phillaur. Mr Gerry Carpinini, Instructor, West Country Ambulance Services, the NHS, UK, imparted training to 56 police personnel, including 20 police cadets from the Maldives. OC



Jewellery stolen from car
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, January 23
Some persons stole gold ornaments weighing about 220 gm along with other valuable items, after breaking open a windowpane of Zen (PB-10-AU-7745) in Sidhwanbet yesterday. The total loss valued at Rs 23,000. The police has registered a case under Section 380 IPC on the statement of Balwinder Singh of Sheera. No arrest has been made so far.

Woman assaulted: Soma and Jaswinder Kaur, both of Rasulpur, allegedly assaulted Sukhdev Kaur of their village with iron rod. The police has registered a case under Sections 323, 325, 34, IPC. The injured is admitted to the local Civil Hospital. No one has been arrested.



Bid to kill brother: kin seek amnesty for accused
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 23
The attempted contract killing of a yarn broker in Haibowal exposed by the city police today presented a strange paradox of strength and bonding of blood relations. On the hand one was accused Vishal Jain, who had hired contract killers to murder his elder brother.

And on the other was alleged target Pankaj Jain as well as their parents. They had pleaded with the police to release Vishal. DSP Simratpal Singh Dhindsa said Pankaj and his parents were requesting the police not to go ahead with the prosecution of Vishal, “He may have committed a mistake but he is our family member” they told the police.

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